THE game shooting season has begun in Dorset.

The season runs from October 1 to February 1.

Adrian Blackmore, director of shooting at the Countryside Alliance, said: "In Britain, we should be rightly proud of our shooting sports as we have something that is truly special. Game management and conservation have helped shape and enhance our landscapes for generations, and that management is now involved in some two thirds of the rural land mass of the UK."

He added that wildlife thrives where land is managed for shooting. The sport is worth £2billion to the UK economy and involves more than a million people.

The Countryside Alliance also promote the health benefits of eating game. Venison is high in protein, low in saturated fatty acids and contains higher levels of iron than any other red meat.

Pheasant and partridge also contain high levels of iron, protein and vitamin B(6).

Mr Blackmore added: "So whether you enjoy crisp, winter days out in the field, with your dog and friends, young and old, or if you want to once again enjoy fresh free-range game at its best, be thankful that the shooting season is here again."